Using software to become a better coach

Over the course of the last two seasons, I have coached high school football in BC where we play American football on an American field, using all 4 down rules, footballs, etc. I have been involved in games from all across the province as well as competing against teams from Alberta and a number of American schools from both Washington and Portland. What I have noticed, is  how much software has become a big part of coaching and team management.


The major software you see now are companies such as Hudl. Since my departure from university coaching, I have noticed, through doing the #CFC100 top prospects list, that there are a number of premier high schools in Canada that utilize programs such as Hudl well. However, there are also a number of premier programs that don’t effectively use Hudl or any software at all to promote their program, players, but most importantly to teach the game of football using video or a screen (i.e. online play books, diagrams).

Every player on every team has the ability to make a quality highlight tape on Hudl and it is very easy to track an individual athlete. When we make the #CFC100 list, the first two places I look to find a player are Hudl and Youtube. It’s very difficult when a player is good enough to be on the list, but you can’t find any film online and you didn’t get an opportunity to watch them play live.

It’s also important for the coach, if they do have a hudl account, to take the time to log the stats which you can easily do in under an hour. This is important because it helps with profiling and showcasing your athletes, which in turn increases their potential to be recruited.

From a coach’s standpoint, the software is so easy to use that an older coach like myself, who is not tech savvy, can log and cut an entire game in under two hours.

Many of these software programs also offer components that allow you to script your practice in half the time or even a third of the time that it would have taken by hand or photocopying, diagramming by hand so on and so forth.

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-6-59-55-pm              nfl-surface-screen

Not only is there the online component, but part of the software actually completes tendency reports in any manner that you want. This is not new to football, but having access to all these tools is new to a lot of high schools in the last five years (from an affordability standpoint).

There are various types of software that are sport specific, some are multi-sport, and some, in addition to what has been mentioned above, will make mass emails, reports, text messages, meeting reminders, will track when your athletes watch film and for how long, and what parts of the game plan they have actually viewed.

These software programs are also important for the following reasons:

  1. They are an administration tool that saves you time and ensures that your information is being viewed by your athletes.
  2. The analysis of stats and raw data is very easy to  follow and understand. As a veteran coach, you see tendencies, but when you incorporate the analysis into the equation, it reinforces what you thought and backs it up.
  3. It also helps you catch mistakes and things that you might have missed.

I think that parents and booster clubs should do everything they possibly can to ensure that the football programs that their kids play in, have access to these software programs. Not only will they help their child’s team, but they will also improve the profile of the school itself, and help the coach(s) cut down on their prep time. Let’s be honest, in today’s era, our kids probably do their best learning from a screen.

I think it’s a huge disadvantage when a school doesn’t use these tools to improve their football programs, either because they don’t have the money, their coaches do not know how to use the software, or they refuse to bring technology into their coaching philosophy.

So what exactly is out there? The major software program that is used in most high schools and higher across Canada is Hudl. This program is very user friendly, has an outstanding price point, offers you video, players highlights, reports, play books, installs, schedules, teams, rosters and it continues to evolve every year with new tools.

Hudl services over 125,000 amateur teams, 2000 college programs, and over 1000 professional teams. They are not sport specific so they can actually be effective in a number of sports at one time. Some other programs that are out there are Coaches Office, Playmaker, and DV Sport which were extremely popular prior to Hudl entering the market and generally have a higher price point as they were originally more geared towards college and professional sport teams.

I cannot reinforce how important these types of tools are to coaching and learning. Teaching your athletes how to understand tactics and perfect their own techniques at the same time, is a huge benefit. The ability to use digital diagrams within a video clip is a massive move forward for coaching, especially now when many leagues, at all levels, allow for a live capture of film and the use of tablets on the sideline.

If you want to propel your program forward and move out of the stone age, you should look at purchasing and/or have your parents, group, or booster club purchase these types of tools for your football program.

About (CFC) is the number one national amateur football website (source: and most respected source for high school and recruiting news in Canada.  CFCs mission is to promote players, coaches, administrators, teams, & leagues from coast to coast. Powered by 40+ local reporters, CFCs content driven network covers Canadian NCAA & CIS recruiting, and high school players & teams like no one else. 

About CFC Insider:

The CFC Insider’ section is for the fan, player, coach, parent, looking for MORE. The mission of this exclusive membership section is to give more recruiting news, exclusive rankings and multi-series stories as well as coach-player instructional videos. To become a CFC INSIDER member, CLICK HERE!



Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply